An accident that involves a large commercial truck is different from a crash that involves two passenger cars. The size of the truck is the main reason for this difference. A tractor-trailer loaded with cargo may weigh as much as 20 times more than an average passenger car. At impact, the truck can simply destroy the smaller vehicle.
Here, we discuss six other ways in which truck accidents are different from other types of accidents. If you recently were involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer in Oklahoma, you should seek help as soon as possible from an experienced truck accident attorney who understands these differences and knows what it will take to pursue maximum compensation for you.
1. People typically suffer life-changing injuries in truck crashes.
People in passenger vehicles frequently suffer catastrophic injuries when they collide with larger commercial trucks. Traumatic brain injuries, internal organ injuries, severe burns, loss of limbs, spinal cord injuries, back injuries and neck injuries are common. Depending on the truck’s cargo, a person may also face exposure to harmful materials.
The injuries that a person suffers in a trucking accident can require long-term medical care, extensive rehabilitation and assistive equipment. The treatment may become highly expensive. The person may also lose the ability to perform the tasks they once did with ease and become unable to work and earn money.
2. When trucks and cars collide, different types of crashes occur.
Because of their size and length, 18-wheelers present special types of dangers on the road. Among the different types of crashes that can occur are:
- Jackknifes – When a truck’s trailer spins out in an accident, forming an acute angle with the cab in a way that resembles a jackknife.
- Underrides – When a car becomes trapped under the trailer of a truck. This can happen if a truck driver suddenly hits the brakes, leaving the person in the trailing car with no time to react.
- Cargo spills – When improperly secured cargo falls from the truck and either falls on other cars or blocks the road.
- Blind spots – Trucks have more blind spots than regular vehicles. If a truck driver fails to check blind spots before the driver turns or changes lanes, the truck can collide with the car.
3. Truck accidents require immediate investigation.
Your lawyer should investigate a trucking accident as soon as possible so as to preserve evidence for a potential claim. The lawyer should examine the crash site and the truck involved in the accident, looking for things such as skid marks and whether the road was dry or wet.
Most trucks also have data boxes that can provide critical information about the accident. Your lawyer should retrieve this data as soon as possible.
Additionally, the lawyer should collect the truck inspection and maintenance records and all records related to the truck driver such as medical records, employment records and a record of the number of hours the driver had worked leading up to the accident.
4. Multiple parties may be liable.
Generally, the truck driver is not the only party who may be held liable following an accident. The company that employs the truck driver may be liable, too, based on the negligent actions of the truck driver. If the way someone packed, loaded or secured the truck causes an accident, entities responsible for storing or preparing the truck’s cargo for shipment – a warehouse owner or shipping broker, for example – may also be liable.
5. A violation of trucking regulations may have caused the crash.
Your lawyer may establish liability for your truck accident by showing that the truck driver or trucking company violated safety regulations such as those set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For example, FMCSA rules restrict the number of hours in which truck drivers can be on the road, and they ban drivers from engaging in texting while driving and other distractions.
6. Commercial insurance policies are higher — and so are the stakes.
Most commercial insurance policies have higher limits than insurance policies on passenger vehicles. For this reason, insurance companies are not always willing to settle insurance claims after a truck accident. Simply put: They don’t want to lose money.
A person injured in a car accident has to present a compelling case. The case should include evidence that clearly establishes liability and the extent of physical, emotional and financial harm that the person has suffered. Even when the injured person has proof of negligence, the insurance company may act aggressively in order to lower the settlement offer. This is one reason why having an experienced truck accident attorney can make a difference. The attorney should put you in a better position to recover maximum compensation.
Our Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyers Are Ready to Help You
If you suffered a catastrophic injury, or if you lost a loved one in a truck accident in Oklahoma, you should contact our truck accident attorneys at Cain Law Office for a free consultation. We can begin immediate work on your case and fight for all compensation that you are due.